19.12.2007: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 12/19/07



UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 10 TOKYO 005603

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

DEPT FOR E, P, EB, EAP/J, EAP/P, EAP/PD, PA;

WHITE HOUSE/NSC/NEC; JUSTICE FOR STU CHEMTOB IN ANTI-TRUST DIVISION;

TREASURY/OASIA/IMI/JAPAN; DEPT PASS USTR/PUBLIC AFFAIRS OFFICE;

SECDEF FOR JCS-J-5/JAPAN,

DASD/ISA/EAPR/JAPAN; DEPT PASS ELECTRONICALLY TO USDA

FAS/ITP FOR SCHROETER; PACOM HONOLULU FOR PUBLIC DIPLOMACY ADVISOR;

CINCPAC FLT/PA/ COMNAVFORJAPAN/PA.

E.O. 12958: N/A

TAGS: OIIP, KMDR, KPAO, PGOV, PINR, ECON, ELAB, JA

SUBJECT: JAPANESE MORNING PRESS HIGHLIGHTS 12/19/07

Index:

1) Top headlines

2) Editorials

3) Prime Minister´s daily schedule (Nikkei)

Defense and security issues:

4) Japan successfully intercepts missile in Hawaii test, but debate

over cost effectiveness of MD continues, with 1 trillion yen

allocated for system (Mainichi)

5) Government to change guidelines for emergency responses to allow

missile intercepts under prior-approval set up (Mainichi)

6) Antiterrorism bill to allow MSDF refueling mission to continue

expected to be finally rejected by the opposition-controlled Upper

House on Jan. 11 (Nikkei)

7) Former GSDF Samawah commander turned lawmaker makes pitch in

Upper House for adopting the antiterrorism special measures bill

(Yomiuri)

8) Agreement between U.S., Japan reached on host-nation support, but

issue of phasing out labor allowances for Japanese employees remains

(Yomiuri)

9) Differential pay to local employees remains as the sole issue in

the now settled host-nation support agreement (Nikkei)

Defense scandals:

10) Moriya to be re-arrested yet again as more bribe money

uncovered, but his wife released from jail (Mainichi)

11) Former Yamada Corp. exec Miyazaki, now under arrest, gave

"fixer" Akiyama 100 million yen to set up channels between Japan,

U.S. that he could tap (Mainichi)

12) Akiyama to be summoned to testify before the Diet as a sworn

witness (Mainichi)

13) LDP´s Taku Yamasaki sets up political subcommittee on the Korean

Peninsula, aiming at normalizing Japan´s relations with the DRPK

during Fukuda tenure (Sankei)

14) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura, who says he absolute believes

in UFOs, unhappy with government´s official view rejecting their

existence (Sankei)

DPJ election strategy:

15) Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ) to focus election strategy on

the urban voter, plans to run female candidate in Tokyo against

former defense chief Koike (Tokyo Shimbun)

16) DPJ expects to have 250 candidates lined up by early next year

to run in next Lower House election (Yomiuri)

Articles:

1) TOP HEADLINES

Asahi:

Wheat price to be raised again in April, likely to affect bread,

noodle prices

Mainichi:

Moriya rearrested over taking 3.64 million yen in bribes

Yomiuri:

Moriya served fresh arrest warrant for allegedly extending favors

for 7 types of defense equipment in return for 3.63 million yen in

TOKYO 00005603 002 OF 010

bribes

Nikkei:

Matsushita, Canon, Hitachi in talks to form alliance to build flat

TV panels

Sankei:

MSDF succeeds in missile intercept test, paving way for major role

in MD system; Constitutional review imperative

Tokyo Shimbun:

New students at nursing care schools drop 13 PERCENT

Akahata:

Hokuriku Electric Power Co. hides 8 active faults near Shiga nuclear

power plant

2) EDITORIALS

Asahi:

(1) Former Vice-Defense Minister Moriya rearrested

(2) Austerity essential in compiling supplementary budget

Mainichi:

(1) MD test: It is not a dream system yet

(2) Medical fees must be used to stop doctors from leaving

hospitals

Yomiuri:

(1) Moriya´s acceptance of cash must be condemned

(2) Medical-related budgets expose limits to automatic cuts

Nikkei:

(1) Economy needs close watch

(2) Lisbon treaty gives flexibility to EU

Sankei:

(1) Moriya rearrested: Shed light on possible involvement of

lawmakers

(2) Strengthened Japan-U.S. alliance expected to follow successful

Aegis missile test

Tokyo Shimbun:

(1) Moriya rearrested: MOD procurement system must be corrected

(2) Working conditions must be reviewed in order to stop declining

birthrate

Akahata:

Unidentified pension accounts issue requires greater efforts

3) Prime Minister´s Official Residence (Kantei)

Prime Minister´s schedule, December 18

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)

December 19, 2007

08:11

Attended a private-sector/government executive council meeting on

promoting work/life balance. Later, attended a study meeting on

priority strategy for supporting children and families.

TOKYO 00005603 003 OF 010

09:03

Attended a cabinet meeting in the Diet building. Later met Health,

Labor and Welfare Minister Masuzoe. Then met Education Minister

Tokai. Followed by New Komeito President Ota.

10:07

Met former Secretary General Nakagawa at the Kantei. Followed by

Resources and Energy Agency Director General Mochizuki and Deputy

Vice METI Minister Toyoda.

11:04

Met Lower House member Taku Eto. Later, LDP headquarters chief

Sakamoto, and others.

13:21

Met Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Futahashi.

15:14

Met Futahashi. Followed by Cabinet Intelligence Director Mitani.

16:01

Met Cabinet Office Vice Minister Uchida. Later, met Deputy Foreign

Minister Yabunaka and Asian and Oceanian Affairs Bureau Director

General Sasae.

17:02

Attended a ceremony to grant certifications for special reform

district plans, regional revitalization plans, and shopping district

revitalization plans. Later, attended a meeting of cabinet ministers

responsible for monthly economic reports.

18:10

Met New Komeito Policy Research Council Chairman Saito.

19:11

Returned to his private residence in Nozawa.

4) MD test successful: Cost effectiveness the next topic of

discussion

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Full)

December 19, 2007

The Maritime Self-Defense Force successfully carried out a sea-based

Standard Missile 3 (SM-3) interceptor test off a U.S. Hawaiian

island. Japan has already deployed the ground-based Patriot Advanced

Capability 3 (PAC-3) interceptor system. The government will now

start operating Japan´s missile defense (MD) shield system

consisting of the SM-3 and the PAC-3. The government plans to lay

down a MD network throughout the country by fiscal 2012 in order to

deal with the threat of North Korea´s ballistic missiles. The total

cost of SM-3 and PAC-3 shielding, however, is estimated at 800

billion yen to 1 trillion yen. It will be even more costly to

introduce an advanced MD system of the next generation. This will

likely give rise to arguments for cost effectiveness due to the

country´s dire fiscal straits.

"I wonder if you can gauge the effectiveness of something or the

cost of saving the lives of people. You only say the price is so

high. That doesn´t hit the nail on the head, and you are thinking

with your heart rather than your head," quipped Defense Minister

Shigeru Ishiba, visibly upset in a press conference when asked about

TOKYO 00005603 004 OF 010

the cost effectiveness of MD and aware that the high cost of

introducing an MD system has been a target of criticism.

Ishiba is concerned about the threat of North Korea´s ballistic

missiles. In 1998, North Korea launched a long-range Taepodong

ballistic missile that flew across over Japan. At the time, the then

Defense Agency had just started its study of an MD system. The

agency then geared up for its introduction.

According to the Defense Ministry, the budget for MD introduction

will peak at 186.3 billion yen in the current fiscal year, the

initial year of interceptor missile deployment. The MD budget for

the remaining fiscal years up to 2012 is estimated to be lower than

the current fiscal year´s budget, according to the Defense

Ministry.

Japan and the United States plan to co-develop an advanced SM-3

system of the next-generation type by fiscal 2014. The government

has yet to decide on whether to mass-produce the advanced MD system.

However, the government´s financial burden will skyrocket if the new

MD system is to be introduced. The interceptor missile fired off

Hawaii was imported from the United States for approximately 2

billion yen. A domestic defense-related business also says, "The MD

budget is huge, but there´s no merit for us. It doesn´t have a

future-oriented aspect to it."

5) Prior intercept order eyed for SDF counteraction

MAINICHI (Page 2) (Abridged)

December 19, 2007

The Maritime Self-Defense Force successfully shot down a projectile

in its test-firing of a sea-based Standard Missile 3 (SM-3)

interceptor, and the SM-3 will go operational early next month.

Ahead of SM-3 deployment, the government decided yesterday to revise

its emergency action guidelines for missile defense (MD) operation.

The government will revise the MD guidelines for the ground-based

Patriot Advanced Capability 3 (PAC-3) interceptor system, which was

first deployed in March. If and when a foreign country prepares to

launch ballistic missiles, the defense minister will be allowed to

order the Self-Defense Forces in advance to intercept ballistic

missiles with the SM-3. The ruling Liberal Democratic Party will

hold a joint meeting of its defense-related divisions today to

approve revising the MD guidelines. The government will shortly make

a cabinet decision on this matter.

6) DPJ executive predicts that new refueling bill will be voted down

in Upper House on Jan. 11

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full

December 19, 2007

A senior member of the major opposition Democratic Party of Japan

(DPJ or Minshuto) indicated yesterday that the bill to resume the

refueling operation in the Indian Ocean would be voted down in a

House of Councillors plenary session on January 11. After New Year´s

break, the Upper House Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee is

scheduled to meet on Jan. 8 and 10. The senior DPJ member indicated

that chances are high for the committee´s adoption of the bill on

Jan. 10 and the plenary session´s vote on Jan. 11, saying, "We will

work hard until the last moment." If a vote is not taken on Jan. 11,

TOKYO 00005603 005 OF 010

60 days will have passed on Jan. 12 since the legislation was sent

from the House of Representatives, allowing the ruling camp to

regard the Upper House´s inaction as de facto rejection under the

Constitution.

7) "Mustached commander" appeals to public

YOMIURI (Page 2) (Full)

December 19, 2007

"People don´t know very much about the new antiterror legislation´s

significance and importance."

On Dec. 18, the House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense

Committee met. Masahisa Sato, a House of Councillors member of the

ruling Liberal Democratic Party, expressed his view before the

committee. Committee members present in the room were straightened

up when the committee meeting was in a mood to wind up.

Sato headed an advance team of the Self-Defense Forces to Iraq, and

he is known as the "mustached commander." The LDP yesterday set up a

corner on the Japanese version of YouTube. On it, Sato explains the

new antiterror legislation as an SDF-member-turned lawmaker. He also

visits various places in the country to speak on the legislation. He

seems to be most directly feeling the public´s lack of understanding

on the legislation.

In the committee meeting, Sato talked about his visits to Niigata,

Hokkaido, and Fukushima for three days from Dec. 15. He stated: "I

explained the bill´s significance. One person said, ´Oh, is that so?

Then I support it.´"

"We´ve now discussed the bill." With this, the ruling coalition is

now seeking to take an early vote on the legislation. The LDP has

told its members to limit their question time to about 10 minutes.

However, Sato continued his questions for about 20 minutes. He made

an appeal there: "It´s important to give easy-to-understand

explanations about how we are actually affected (in the aftermath of

halting the Maritime Self-Defense Force´s refueling activities in

the Indian Ocean). I will do so. I want the government to do so

together."

8) Review of sympathy budget settled, but setting timeframe for

abolishing pay allowances remains a challenge

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Full)

December 19, 2007

Now that an agreement has been reached between the Ministry of

Defense (MOD) and the All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union

(Zenchuro) to abolish the allowances to Japanese employees working

at U.S. bases, the question of reviewing Japan´s host nation support

(the so-called sympathy budget) for U.S. Forces Japan has generally

been settled. Although a MOD official described the agreement to

abolish the allowances as a major achievement, a timeframe for the

phase out has yet to be determined.

Given the nation´s tight fiscal situation, the government aimed at

deep cuts in Japan´s HNS as a whole, which is far higher than that

of other countries. At the same time, the government needed to give

consideration to Japan-U.S. relations which have become unstable due

to the suspension of the refueling operation in the Indian Ocean and

TOKYO 00005603 006 OF 010

other factors. This prompted the government to put emphasis on

reducing the differential pay and language allowance to Japanese

employees that would not increase the burden on the United States.

Although Zenchuro agreed to abolishing the allowances at an early

stage, talks with MOD on measures to mitigate radical changes face

rough going. Zenchuro staged two strikes, which started to worry the

U.S. side about the effect on base operations. The government had to

heed to a U.S. request for making efforts to avoid strikes, and MOD

settled the matter by making concessions to Zenchuro.

MOD intends to end the drastic change alleviation measures in five

years. But a senior Zenchuro official said: "From the perspective of

their welfare, the allowances will have to stay beyond the next five

years." There still remains a seed of conflict for future talks.

9) Sympathy budget generally settled; Step to be taken to alleviate

drastic change in differential pay

NIKKEI (Page 2) (Full)

December 19, 2007

Negotiations on Japan´s host nation support (the so-called sympathy

budget) for U.S. Forces Japan (USFJ) have generally been settled. An

agreement was reached between the Ministry of Defense (MOD) and the

All Japan Garrison Forces Labor Union (Zenchuro) to abolish the

"differential pay" of adding a 10 PERCENT allowance to the civil

servants´ base bay and the language allowance. The only remaining

matter is how to handle the USFJ facilities maintenance costs that

will go into in the fiscal 2008 budget bill.

Labor and management also agreed to abolish the pay raise system

that allows salaries to increase beyond the pay scale. In the fiscal

2008 budget bill, the sympathy budget will be reduced by 370 million

yen from this year. As a measure to alleviate drastic change, MOD

will pay 50 PERCENT of the differential pay and the language

allowance for five years and review them thereafter.

10) Moriya rearrested over bribes

MAINICHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)

December 19, 2007

The special investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public

Prosecutors Office rearrested former Administrative Vice Defense

Minister Takemasa Moriya yesterday on suspicion of accepting about

3.64 million yen in bribes from a former executive of defense

contractor Yamada Corp. The former executive was also rearrested for

giving the alleged bribe. It has been found that Yamada Corp. spent

a total of approximately 7.5 million yen in bribes and expenses for

golf trips for Moriya.

Prosecutors also rearrested Osamu Akiyama, former chief of Yamada

Corp.´s US subsidiary, for giving the bribe the same day. Moriya´s

wife Sachiko, who had been arrested over her involvement in Moriya´s

receipt of bribes, was released for the reason that she played a

minor role and that she regrets what she did.

11) Yamada Corp. former executive gave 100 million yen to Japan-U.S.

center in anticipation of influence peddling

MAINICHI (Top Play) (Excerpts)

TOKYO 00005603 007 OF 010

Evening, December 18, 2007

It is now suspected that Yamada Corp. gave funds not only to former

Administrative Vice Defense Minister Takemasa Moriya but also to

Naoki Akiyama, executive director of the Japan-U.S. Center for Peace

and Cultural Exchange. Akiyama is close to lawmakers lobbying for

defense interests. Motonobu Miyazaki, a former executive of the

defense contractor, told persons around him that he transferred

approximately 100 million yen into a bank account of Akiyama. He

also admitted to the remittance during questioning by the special

investigation squad of the Tokyo District Public Prosecutors Office,

saying: "We offered money in anticipation of its influence peddling

to help us receive orders."

Akiyama reportedly has acted as an intermediary between Japanese and

American defense companies and politicians. The Japan-U.S. center

makes arrangements for visits to the U.S. by Japanese lawmakers and

regularly holds a meeting of the Japan-U.S. Security Strategy

Council by inviting American defense experts. Since fiscal 2003, the

center has arranged visits for 21 lawmakers, including Finance

Minister Fukushiro Nukaga and former Democratic Party of Japan

President Seiji Maehara.

12) Upper House committee decides to summon Akiyama as sworn

witness

MAINICHI (Page 1) (Full)

Evening, December 18, 2007

The House of Councillors Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee has

decided to summon Naoki Akiyama, executive director of the

Japan-U.S. Center for Peace and Cultural Exchange, to the Diet as a

sworn witness. The committee initially planned to summon him on Dec.

20, but since Akiyama has said he would accept the summons, a

decision on the date has been entrusted to the chairman.

13) In first meeting of LDP North Korea panel, Yamasaki says ties

should be normalized under Fukuda administration

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)

December 19, 2007

The Liberal Democratic Party´s subcommittee on issues related to the

Korean Peninsula, chaired by former Defense Agency Director General

Seishiro Eto, held its first meeting at party headquarters

yesterday. The panel was created to back up the government´s policy

toward North Korea. Former Vice President Taku Yamasaki, who assumed

the post of supreme advisor, expressed hopes that the party will

strengthen ties with North Korea through the panel, saying: "I would

like to normalize diplomatic ties between Japan and North Korea

under the Fukuda administration."

The first meeting brought together about 30 members of the Diet,

including former Defense Agency Director General Gen Nakatani.

Yamasaki emphasized that the establishment of the panel is in

accordance with Prime Minister Fukuda´s wishes. He then implied that

he would visit to Pyongyang, remarking: "We will be very busy next

year in dealing with issues with the Korean Peninsula. The party

will take proper steps to address the situation."

Yamasaki is known for having his own personal networks in North

Korea. In April 2004, he held a meeting with Jong Thae Hwa, then

TOKYO 00005603 008 OF 010

ambassador for normalization talks with Japan in Dalian, China. He

also visited North Korea this January and reportedly met with Kim

Yong Kon, National Defense Committee counselor, and others. The

visit was criticized as "dual diplomacy."

14) Chief Cabinet Secretary Machimura: UFOs definitely exist,

unhappy with government´s formal response

SANKEI (Page 5) (Full)

December 19, 2007

Chief Cabinet Secretary Nobutaka Machimura stated in a press

conference yesterday: "I am sure that unidentified flying objects

exist." He elaborated: "Otherwise, it is impossible to explain the

Nazca Lines (in Peru, which some believe were created by aliens),

isn´t it?"

The government yesterday adopted in a cabinet meeting an official

response to a question by Ryuji Yamada, a Democratic Party of Japan

member. The statement says that the government has not confirmed the

existence of UFOs. It was the first time for the government to deny

the existence of UFOs. Machimura, while stressing that it was his

personal view that UFOs exist, said: "The government has offered

only a boilerplate response in its formal statement."

15) DPJ to place importance on urban areas in next Lower House

election

TOKYO SHIMBUN (Page 2) (Full)

December 19, 2007

The largest opposition Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto)

has begun setting forth a clear stance of placing importance on

policy measures for urban areas in campaigning for the next House of

Representatives election. The DPJ won a sweeping victory in the July

House of Councillors election, by playing up its policy of giving

priority to improving regional economies by narrowing socioeconomic

disparities regional. What are reasons for the party trying to

review its campaign strategy?

DPJ head Ichiro Ozawa along with Takako Ebata, a former associate

university professor, whom the party has informally endorsed as its

candidate to run in the Tokyo No. 10 electoral district held a press

conference yesterday. In it, Ozawa emphasized: "We must do our best

to have her win the race." Ebata will compete in the race with

former Defense Minister Yuriko Koike. It is unusual for Ozawa to

introduce a candidate in a press conference.

Ozawa stressed his party´s policy of attaching emphasis on urban

areas, saying:

"We must set our goal to secure the majority of seats in the Tokyo

metropolitan area, which includes Tokyo and three other prefectures,

the Kansai region such as Osaka and Hyogo Prefecture, and Fukuoka

Prefecture in the Kyushu region."

In the background, there are many single-seat constituencies in

urban areas. In the 2005 Lower House election, the DPJ suffered a

crashing defeat. Ozawa noted: "If we are defeated in those areas, it

will be difficult for us to get the majority of the Lower House

seats." He predicts that the outcome of races in the urban areas

will be the key to a change of government.

TOKYO 00005603 009 OF 010

However, election cooperation between opposition parties seems

difficult in some electoral districts in Tokyo and Kanagawa in which

candidates backed by the DPJ and Social Democratic Party are decided

to run. The DPJ has many challenges to overcome, including coming up

with policy measures attracting unaffiliated voters.

DPJ to field woman candidate in Tokyo No. 10 district, facing off

LDP´s Koike

The Democratic Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) decided yesterday in

a meeting of its standing secretaries general to file eight

candidates for the next House of Representatives election, including

Takako Ebata, 47, former associate professor at the University of

Tokyo, who will run in the Tokyo No. 10 electoral district.

Former Defense Minister Koike now represents the No. 10 district.

The DPJ has not filed candidates in 72 districts of the 300

electoral districts across the nation.

16) DPJ to be ready to field 250 candidates by early next year for

next Lower House election due to delay in coordination on

candidates

YOMIURI (Page 4) (Slightly abridged)

December 19, 2007

The government and ruling parties have decided to set up a national

council on social security affairs. The main opposition Democratic

Party of Japan (DPJ or Minshuto) sees this move as a favorable wind

blowing in its direction. The DPJ, however, has yet to craft a

strategy for the next House of Representatives election due to a

delay in coordinating candidates and other reasons.

When asked by reporters yesterday about the plunging approval

ratings for the cabinet of Prime Minister Yasuo Fukuda in opinion

polls by various news companies, DPJ President Ichiro Ozawa

responded: "(Regarding the issue that identifying holders of a huge

number of national pension accounts have become difficult)

distrustful and irresponsible remarks by Prime Minister Fukuda and

other government officials have enraged the public." He continued:

"I want to see a dissolution of the Lower House as early as possible

for a snap general election. If public opinion calls for an

election, (the Prime Minister) will have no choice but to dissolve

the Lower House and call it. It is not a technical issue to manage

Diet affairs."

Even if the House of Councillors adopts a censure motion against the

Prime Minister, it would not be legally binding, although there is a

view that the adoption of a censure motion should trigger Lower

House dissolution. In the DPJ, a cautious view on the submission of

a censure motion is spreading, with one senior party member saying,

"We won´t be able to get public support only by the Lower House´s

overriding a decision by the Upper House on the new antiterrorism

special measures bill. I think it is not enough even with the

pension-record fiasco."

The DPJ has been slow in its election coordination. In a meeting

yesterday of its standing secretaries general, the largest

TOKYO 00005603 010 OF 010

opposition party informally endorsed candidates to run in eight

electoral districts. The number of the DPJ candidates now totals

227. Therefore, the party´s target of filing 250 candidates before

the end of the year is likely to slip to early next year.

The DPJ has not yet fielded candidates in eight of the 25 electoral

districts in Tokyo. The reason is that the party has not overcome

the legacy of a crushing defeat in the 2005 Lower House election, in

which it won only one seat out of 25; and so it has worked on the

selection of candidates from scratch, considering that the Tokyo

races would affect its performance across the nation.

SCHIEFFER

2007-12-19 01:34



Les også

Siste fra Wikileaks-dokumenter

Siste nytt